Century Marks

Music appreciation: Tony Cicoria, an orthopedic surgeon, was struck by lightning and had a near-death out-of-body experience. After a short period of modest memory loss, he began to have an insatiable craving for piano music, even though his music preference before was mostly rock and roll. First he bought classical albums, then he purchased sheet music and began to teach himself to play the piano. Eventually he started hearing original piano compositions in his head and had to learn how to notate music that he believed came from heaven. Oliver Sacks thinks near-death experiences have a neurological basis. Cicoria prefers to think of his experience in spiritual terms: he is a different person, which he considers a blessing and a grace (New Yorker, July 23).


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